Carry crab is the common name given to several species of reef crabs that pick up and carry around objects on their backs in order to protect themselves. They use special up-turned hind legs to clamp down whatever they choose to strap on their backs, essentially taking hostage of unwitting creatures and using them as living shields. It’s a pretty bad day for any animal a carry crab decides to “bond” with.
A photograph by Anna DeLoach of an urchin carry crab.
We’re talking about some pretty freaky and funny stuff they choose for their ad hoc armor. Carry crabs usually latch on to urchins or upside-down jellyfish for their camouflage and protection … pretty good choices considering few predators want to chomp down on urchin spin or suffer a jelly sting. However, they’ve been observed carrying starfish, sand dollars, crinoids, anemones, sea slugs, sea pens, and even non-aquatic material like banana skins, tin/aluminum cans, and cardboard boxes!
To read more about carry crabs, visit our friends at blennywatcher.com. Here are a couple of videos of these resourceful weirdos in action.